There’s no single day without an announcement mentioning innovative use of renewable or recycled materials within the automotive interior industry. Automakers and suppliers are practically falling over themselves to compete for the most ecologically-sound sources for interior materials—flax, coffee beans, sugar beet pulp, reeds, rattan…it begins to feel like paging through a botanical dictionary.
This back-to-the-land sourcing competition spurs major innovation activity, which grows the industry on a virtuous path. But there are still major challenges in front of all these inventors. It’s grand to come up with new materials, but then they have to be made suitable for use in cars. That means design, packaging, integrability, and cost to name just a few of the most important factors. Then the value chain has to be developed in terms of supplier capability and capacity, within a reasonably local footprint. With a lot of traditional materials (wood) and components (chips) growing scarce for different reasons, we see here the height of the bar to pass.
New and sustainable materials will be comprehensively addressed in a dedicated session at the next DVN Interior Workshop on 26-27 April 2022—more information to come; stay tuned. To make sure you’ll attend, don’t forget to join us if you’re not yet a member of the DVN-I community.